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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Dissension - Chapter 1



Here we go. The final book to the Ravnica trilogy, which should focus on the final three Guilds of the Guildpact: The Azorius Senate, The Simic Combine, and Cult of Rakdos.


Dissension - Chapter 1

Possession is nine-tenths of the law - we take care of the other tenth. Capobar and Associates specializes in object retrieval. No job too small, too big, or too dangerous. Satisfaction guaranteed. Fee negotiable, consultancy available (100 zinos/day plus expenses). 15017 Funnel Street, Midtown, Center of Ravnica. In-person meeting required. Expenses not negotiable. Everyone is looking for something. Send a falcon to us for an appointment today!
-Long-running classified advertisement,
Ravnican Guildpact-Journal

29 CIZARM 10012 Z.C.

Evern Capobar, master thief and owner of the thieving business Capobar and Associates, was finally stretching his thieving muscles rather than paperwork in his office sticking to just the paperwork. At one-hundred and one years of age, he wasn't as spry as he used to be, but a Guildleader has personally requested his expertise, and that piqued his curiosity to no end, as did the job itself.

(He isn't part of the Azorius Senate, the Simic Combine or the Cult of Rakdos? Interesting choice.)

It had been only three weeks since the birth and death of new dragons to the plane, but news that big had spread throughout fast. This new job was going to take him to Utvara to see the place for himself. In fact he'd already passed by the dragon skeletons on his way to retrieve the object he was seeking. It was in the ruins of the Cauldron.

The plan was simple. He just had to get in, retrieve the object, then hand it off to the shadewalker he hired for the mission. The contract said he had to personally retrieve it, but once that happened it would be much easier for his invisible associate to take it all the back home without getting caught.

So far however, the job seemed too easy for the amount of money he was going to receive. He didn't like it. Something was going on.

I don't want to say he jinxed himself, but soon after those thoughts enter his head, a loud booming came from beneath the ground, followed by sinkhole opening up and revealing the strangest creature he'd ever seen. It had a fake eye attached to a tentacle poking up from the cavern below.

He wasn't here to fight, and standing around gawking would only waste time, if not get him eaten by whatever it was, so best to just get on with the job.

Capobar puts on his mana goggs and adjusts the setting so he can clearly see the aura of his target within the ruins. He adjust the settings to his boots and a charge of energy rushes through him and he sprints his way past the creature and enters the Cauldron.

There it was. The third dragon. It was still alive like he'd been told, but it didn't look like it'd be alive for long. Another of the strange creatures was there as well:

It was big but nowhere as large as the skeletal dragon - maybe about the size of a pair of good-sized wagons stacked on top of each other - but it might easily have swallowed him whole. Its body was shaped like a beetle's, thought it had no carapace or wings. Its skin appeared disturbingly human, pink and fleshy, with a long tail and a flat, toothy face showing no eyes. it stood on four muscular legs that appeared to end in parodies of human hands, and it shifted back and forth on its hand-feet as it dug into what, for it, must have seemed like a feast - a smashed egg twice its size.

The thing, the nephilim , was eating his target. Capobar keeps an eye on the thing as he scoots around the egg, hoping to approach it from the other side so maybe he could do what he was here to do without disturbing the thing. Then he sees another nephilim, also eating the dragon flesh. This one was also flesh toned, but it has a serpentine body with a pair of clawed arms and one giant eye in the middle of its chest.

As he found a good angle of approach, the dragon spoke. It asked him to kill it. That's what he was here to do anyway, so he might as well oblige. Capobar holds out his hand, and the shadewalker drops a cylinder the size of his arm into the thief's hand. Capobar aims carefully and pierces the dragon with the attached needle, and extracts the desired fluid from one of the dragon's glands.


...Outside...

The two of them get out of there, and Capobar hands his employee the prize. As he does so, he feels a second shadewalker bind his arms and something cold pierce his chest above his heart.

(Ooooh... he dies. That's why.)


...Back inside...

The nephilim feed for hours. Not just those two but the others that join them as well. What was at first just two of them, became three, then four, then five. They eat and and grow, and eat and grow some more. They grow larger and larger until the Cauldron can no longer contain them. They expand their territory. Some roam the Husk and gobble up some Gruul, some wander the flats and eat some prospectors, and some make it to town.

A tiny little snake that isn't quite a snake watches and relishes in the sounds of panic and destruction. It dissolved back into a mass of worms, then shaped itself back into the snake and decided it was time to report back to its master.


...Above the Cauldron ruins...

Form with the flight sphere, Crix, who was actually now Crixizix, as dubbed by Niv-Mizzet himself, was now master engineer and overseer of the Cauldron project. She see the terrible destruction the nephilim can caused to her building as they burst out of it. She puts the pain aside however as she knows these creatures are a serious problem. The need to be dealth with.

She dials up some Izzet dispatch station on her scrying pool, and after making it clear that she's not some nobody goblin that accidentally got a hold of the communication equipment, she requests the services of a containment team. A large team. Big monsters need taking down.

Still skeptical about taking orders from a goblin, the dispatcher questions how she can be sure this is an Izzet problem and not something the Simic did.

"It's plain as the tattoo on your forehead, madam," Crixizix said. "They consumed the remains of Zomaj Hauc's project. The results are what was always speculated but never attempted, due to concerns about heresies." Which wa sa polite way of saying that the first and last magelord to suggest to Niv-MIzzet that the dragon sacrifice so much as a scale from his crimson hide to feed to anyone or anything was reduced to ash and bone.

The dispatcher says the team will arrive in a few hours. That was too long for Crix's taste. But what could she do? Call Niv-Mizzet that's what. She was connected to him now thanks to her promotion, and it was within her rights to call for his aid and this might actually be something he'd want to know.

* * *


Don't Disappoint!

House Dimir - Lupul's back. I'm guessing Szadek's back as well. Let's hope they're put to better use than the last time they showed up. It's time for redemption! Don't disappoint me Herndon!

Niv-Mizzet - Here's another chance for redemption. After all that talk about his power, time to really see what he can do.

Nephilim - They've returned after their cameo and red-herring appearance in book two, and it looks like they're going to go on a rampage. Considering they're in the first chapter, I take it that House Dimir is the true villain of the set, and I'm perfectly happen with them not being the true threat of the book. In fact while it may be interesting to see them in action, I prefer it that way.

New Guilds - It's only the first chapter so I'll excuse the fact that none of the last three guilds have made their appearances yet. I'm looking forward to the three being fleshed out as much as the other Guilds have been in the previous books. That would be the biggest disappointment of all if Herndon failed to deliver in this area, considering he did such a good job with it in the other two books.


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